Monday, January 26, 2009

The Caves are Open!!!!

Las Cavernas de Camuy are back giving the full tour. One year after closing due to an accident, the caves have reopened and guides are once again leading tourists through the enormous galleries of the camuy cave system. The tour for the past year was a trolley ride down to view the sink hole, but didn't include the walk through the cave. Saturday, January 24th free tours were given and Sunday there was suppose to be music and more celebrations.

The Caves and the Arecibo Observatory are two important turistic sites in Central Puerto Rico. The limited tour of the Caverns was a disappointment for many, so I'm glad that the full tour has resumed. From what I hear, the Observatory is still in financial instability, but hopefully the scientific community will receive renewed funding this year.

I hear that the Caguana Indian Park in Utuado is closed temporarily. I hope that will open shortly with expanded exhibits. This is a beautiful region and I would hate to see it get "over developed", but there are many existing sites that could be improved. Bosque Rio Arriba is suppose to be very nice for walking its trails, but the main gate is usually closed.

Lago Dos Bocas has improved over the years with its landscaped setting and ferry boat rides on the lake and rivers. Restaurant boats also shuttle passengers to their restaurants, especially over the weekends. At one time, kayaking was offered on the lake; I'm not sure if any boating is offered lately.

So come on down and visit us in the mountains of Puerto Rico and enjoy the cool mountain air and see the local attractions.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year - I'm back!!

The "holidaze" are over. In Puerto Rico they last a long time...through Three King's Day on January 6th. Today is January 12th and it's a Puerto Rican holiday, Maria de Hostos...and next week is Martin Luther King here in Puerto Rico we celebrate any holiday we can.

We followed our Christmas tradition and made pasteles (similar to Mexican tamales). Pasteles are made with a dough of grated green bananas, pumpkin, various root vegetables and coloring and have a meat filling of chicken or pork. They are then wrapped in paper and banana leaves and tied in a neat little package to be boiled. We also made some of yucca, which can be boiled or baked in foil and are called empanadas. We set up our assembly line with "abuela" leading us to a record 473!! At 85, abuela Raquel, doesn't tire.....a cap on her head, string around her neck (for wrapping), we set up our factory. I found a paper from 2006 that said we had made 347. Some of our pasteles are gifts, some we eat right away and serve our guests, some we sell, and the rest we freeze. Pasteles taste the best in summer when no one has seen them for months...easy fast food....boil 'em up and you have a full meal....yum!

It's a new year and I'm still talking about my garden. My tomatoes are slowly appearing, the peppers don't look great and I have more seeds to start while picking up goat poop to mix with my compost. Like most things in the jungle, certain plants go wild without much care. Check out our roof garden. Unlike most roof gardens in the city, our roof garden appeared on its own. We've already have eaten stuffed chayotes and are drying out our loofahs...waiting for the next harvest.

And so...welcome 2009....we're ready! We're gonna try to grow more food, try to continue our morning walks to the end of the farm..touch the banana tree and then cirle the camping area "track" and come home for breakfast, and try to meet more people from more places than ever before. January has brought us wonderful people so far and we're looking forward to meeting more.

I'll be talking to you soon...with more pictures and more info from TJ Ranch, Arecibo and Puerto Rico. Adios and Feliz Ano Nuevo!!!